By 1993, Interstate 44 had displaced Route 66 as the main east-west highway through Laclede County for 36 years. Many businesses that had depended on Route 66 traffic for survival had withered away or adjusted their appeal to local customers. Some businesses that had been built to take advantage of new interchanges already were showing their age.

That was the year Maura Johnson, on behalf of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, prepared an “Architectural/Historic Survey of Route 66 in Missouri” in partial fulfillment of a Historic Preservation Fund grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Photographs from more than a dozen Laclede County Route 66 locations were included in the survey and are reproduced here. A few of the buildings no longer exist.

Overall, Johnson and the Route 66 Association of Missouri identified 266 resources – 233 individual sites – that met four criteria established for the purposes of the survey:

  1. A building, structure, site, or object which was designed or used to serve the travel trade on U.S. Route 66 and was constructed between the years 1926-1955.
  2. A building, structure, site or object which may be eligible for individual National Register listing.
  3. A building, structure, site or object which contributes to the highway corridor’s sense of time and place and historical development and may therefore be a contributing resource in a National Register district.
  4. A building, structure, site or object which is necessary to fully develop and evaluate the highway’s historic context or associated property types.

The complete 674-page report, including hundreds of 1992-1993 Route 66 photos from throughout Missouri, is at https://dnr.mo.gov/shpo/survey/SWAS014-S.pdf . You’ll find the Laclede County photos on Pages 292-310. Unfortunately, no written surveys of Laclede County properties are included in the online report.

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